National Fisherman

Mixed Catch 

jerryJerry Fraser is NF's publisher and former editor.



Can you imagine a fisherman being president of the United States?

It's not so farfetched a dream, now is it? Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin is Sen. John McCain's choice as running mate on the Reublican presidential ticket. And should the 72-year-old McCain be elected president, Palin would assume the reins should anything happen to the commander in chief.

If that happened, that would make a fisherman the leader of the free world. Palin fishes commercially for salmon in Bristol Bay, as does her husband, Todd, a lifelong commercial fisherman, who would become first gentleman.

What would life be like if a fisherman was president? Would the Magnuson-Stevens Act become fairer to fishermen if White House support and clout were available?

Would we see reversals of trade policies that allow vast quantities of seafood to be imported that squash dock prices? Would we see increased emphasis on and funding for more accurate stock assessments?

Would West Coast water policies be reversed to bolster the health of weakened salmon stocks? Would fisheries rationalization plans move to the back burner in favor of programs that would enable big- and small-boat fishermen to prosper?

Would the U.S. delegation to ICCAT have greater support and the muscle to ensure American swordfish and tuna fishermen get a fairer shake? Would we put more pressure on foreign nations to fish sustainably?

In short, would life get better for U.S. fishermen?

Maybe. It might be too much to ask the president to focus so much on fisheries-related matters. After all, there are pesky issues like the economy, energy prices, education, foreign affairs and health care that would likely fly higher on the radar screen.

Then again, maybe U.S. fishermen would receive more attention and help than they've gotten from presidents who lack a commercial fishing background.

Inside the Industry

The anti-mining group Salmon Beyond Borders expressed disappointment and dismay last week at Alaska Governor Bill Walker’s announcement that he has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with B.C. Premier Christy Clark.

This came just days after his administration asked members of his newly-formed Transboundary Rivers Citizens Advisory Work Group to provide comment on a Draft Statement of Cooperation associated with Transboundary mining.


NMFS recently released a draft action plan for fish discard and release mortality science, creating a list of actions that they hope can better inform fisheries.

We know that fishermen have to deal with bycatch by discarding or releasing unwanted catch overboard, but there is a data gap regarding how those fish survive.

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